Fixing pier and beam foundations
A home’s foundation has one responsibility—to remain level. As long as a home stays upright and free of structural damage, a foundation is doing its job. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Even if the structure is perfectly built, factors such as rain and drought can cause the structure to shift over time. Specifically, a pier and beam foundation can undergo shifts and incur eventual damage. Though, with problems, come solutions. What potential problems should you look out for and how can they be fixed?
What is pier and beam foundation?
First of all, let’s detail pier and beam foundation, just in case you are unfamiliar. Pier and beam foundation consists of firmly installing concrete piers (cylindrical, generally a foot in length and about half a foot in width) into the ground below the house. Once in place, girder beams are placed on top of the piers to create a rectangular shape. The rectangle is then filled with numerous wooden joists to create the base support.
This foundation type is common in the construction of many homes. Pier and beam is a reliable foundation; however, like any foundation, problems can arise.
Extreme weather can often give a foundation more than it can handle. Consistent heavy rains can work their way through the soil and to the wooden joists. Significant moisture might cause the wood to rot or deteriorate. Moisture can also cause soil to expand, possibly placing unneeded pressure on the piers and forcing one or more to shift.
On the other spectrum of extreme weather, lengthy droughts can also be damaging to pier and beam foundations. As opposed to the effect of rain, dryness can force soil to shrink. Shrunken soil can create a shift and an imbalance to the foundation. It can lead to cracks or sagging floors throughout a home. Certainly, us Texans are all too familiar with onslaughts of heavy rain and extensive periods with no rain. Just be aware of how each extreme can affect your home’s foundation.
Poor drainage or ventilation can expedite the negative effects of moisture. If there is no way, or an insufficient way for water to escape, moisture will build up, increasing the chances of rotting and deterioration. There must be a way the foundation to breath, if that makes sense. Furthermore, moisture has to evaporate, or else problems may come about.
Pier and beam foundations have crawl spaces beneath them. Crawl spaces enable access to pipes in case of a leak. This 18-36’’ space can help with ventilation. It gives moisture an exit and open air to quicken the evaporation process.
Bad plumbing can create problems that are nearly impossible to notice until it is too late. A pipe burst will doom a foundation, as the foundation likely will not be able to maintain through a practical flood. Even if the piers aren’t forced out of place, the excess water will almost certainly damage the wooden joists.
A basic plumbing leak can also rear its ugly head. It’s simply difficult to know when exactly a leak is occurring. Hence, leaks can haunt foundations over time and require eventual foundation repair.
The best fix
Do-it-yourself is not recommended when it comes to pier and beam foundation problems. Instead, you will need to hire a professional to assess and fix the problem. Foundations are too particular and too important; therefore, a foundation expert is the right person for the job. Foundation repair costs vary based on the extent of damage and size of the house (especially for pier and beam foundations). The cost will be worth a safe structure to protect a home and its household members.
Do you need your pier and beam foundation fixed? Or are you concerned about its well-being? BFD Foundation Repairs can help. Our experts will execute a free estimate for your foundation. We’ve dealt with every foundation issue you can think of; our knowledge and experience will be shown through excellent service, timely repairs and precise repairs. Contact BFD Foundation Repairs today! Also, visit our blog for additional helpful input regarding home foundations.